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The Hairy Bikers’ Winter Vegetable Soup

Si King & Dave Myers (The Hairy Bikers)


Serves: 4

Prep time: 25 mins

Cook time: 1 hr 30 mins


2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

600g root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, swede, turnips, celeriac, sliced or diced

150g beetroot (100g peeled and diced, 50g grated)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried thyme or 2 sprigs of fresh

50g barley

up to 1.5 litres vegetable stock

1 tsp Marmite

2 leeks, finely sliced

100g kale, shredded

sea salt and black pepper


150g self-raising flour

75g butter or vegetarian suet

1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)

1 tsp dried thyme

To serve:

finely chopped dill or parsley

dollops of mustard or horseradish

Veg Portions / Serving: 3


The Hairy Bikers’ Veggie Feasts by Si King and Dave Myers is published by Seven Dials, photography by Andrew Hayes-Watkins.

We both love a dumpling and this is a really hearty soup for a winter’s day – a proper Hairy Biker dinner. You can use butter for the dumplings, which makes them lovely and light, but if you want this to be a vegan dish use vegetarian suet. And if you don’t fancy caraway seeds, try adding some chopped dill to the mix. Use whatever root veg you like, but go easy on the potato.


Heat the oil in a saucepan or a flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion and cook gently over a medium-high heat until it starts to take on some colour. Add the root vegetables, including the diced beetroot, but not the grated, and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for another 10 minutes until they start to reduce in volume.

Stir in the garlic, thyme and barley and cook for another couple of minutes. Pour in 1.2 litres of the stock and season. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a fast simmer. Stir in the Marmite (the heat will melt it off the spoon) and partially cover the pan with a lid.

Simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Add the leeks and kale. Continue to cook until the barley is swollen and slightly al dente and the vegetables are tender – this should take 15–20 minutes. Add more liquid if the soup gets too thick.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. If you want the dumplings firm and lightly browned, preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6, or you can just steam them on top of the soup.

Put the flour into a bowl and add the butter or suet. Rub in the fat, then season well. Add the caraway seeds, if using, and the thyme and just enough water to make a slightly tacky dough. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll into balls.

Stir the grated beetroot into the soup. Drop the dumplings on top of the soup and either put the pan in the oven for about 15 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and lightly browned, or cover and leave to simmer on the hob for 15–20 minutes. Garnish with dill or parsley and serve with dollops of mustard or horseradish.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Put the kids on dumpling duty. Get them measuring, mixing and separating them so they are ready for you to add to the soup. Older kids who are comfortable with the stove and pans can help you add, stir and check on the veg for the soup.



While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.



Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.



The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

Si King & Dave Myers (The Hairy Bikers)

Si King and Dave Myers, a.k.a. the Hairy Bikers have been entertaining Britain with their TV shows and books for over a decade, and have sold in excess of 6 million copies of their books. They've become national treasures as they understand the importance of great food and home cooking to every household.

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